Catocala abbreviatella
kah-TOCK-uh-lahM ab-bree-vee-uh-TEL-luh
Grote, 1872

The Abbreviated Underwing, by Harold J. Vermes.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke.
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae, Leach, [1815]
Subfamily: Erebinae, Leach, [1815]
Tribe: Catocalini, Boisduval, [1828]
Genus: Catocala, Schrank, 1802


The Catocala abbreviatella moth (wingspan: 40-50mm) flies from Indiana south and west to Texas and Oklahomaand north to Nebraska and Wisconsin.

It has also been confirmed in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.

This species is more common in western portions of its range. In Indiana, it is considered endangered by the Natural Resources Commission (January 2005).

The forewing is uniformly colored with narrow black lines on the anterior half. The brown reniform spot is ringed with black.

Catocala abbreviatella, Oklahoma, All leps Barcode of Life.

The outer black band of the hindwing is abbreviated and then continued with a dot. The inner black band also terminates well before the inner margin. There is considerable bleeding of orange into the fringe.

Catocala abbreviatella, Oklahoma, All leps Barcode of Life.

Similar species: Catocala nuptialis has a solid black reniform spot. C. whitneyi has broad dark triangles in the middle of the forewing.


In Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin Catocala abbreviatella are usually on the wing in July and/or August.

Moths come in to lights readily and also to bait.

The Catocala abbreviatella caterpillar shows a preference for Lead Plant (Amorpha) and possibly Locust (Robinia).


Adults eclose from pupae formed under surface litter.


Catocala abbreviatella females emit an airbourne pheromone and males use their antennae to track the scent plume.


Eggs are deposited on tree bark in the fall and hatch the following spring.

Mature larvae

Image courtesy of

Larval Food Plants

Listed below are primary food plant(s) and alternate food plants. It is hoped that this alphabetical listing followed by the common name of the foodplant will prove useful. The list is not exhaustive, although some species seem very host specific. Experimenting with closely related foodplants is worthwhile.



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